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Book review: Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs

Hollow CityBook Review of

Hollow City
By Ransom Riggs

The sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Published by Quirk Books in January 2014.

What’s it about?

In this sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Jacob, Emma, and the other Peculiar children have fled their island home and set off for mainland England. They are on the run, hunted by a legion of monsters (the incredibly creepy hollows and wights); with an injured Miss Peregrine in tow, they set out for London, the center of the peculiar world, in search of an Ymbryne who can help them.

What I liked least:

The first half of the book. The first Miss Peregrine book started off with an intriguing mix of mystery and horror, with just the right amount of both to propel the reader forward. Hollow City suffers in its place as a sequel.

Unlike the first book, which slowly introduces different elements of the mystery, Hollow City thrusts its readers right into the middle of the battle. The charm and mystery of the first is gone, and instead we are forced to follow our main characters as they trek across English countryside, pursued by forces of evil.

While some of the imagery, especially of the hollowgasts, is still effectively creepy, I really felt like the first half of the book was missing something. It seemed a lot more like a children’s book than the first one ever did (which is great, if you’re reading it as a child/young adult!). In the first half, the children move around from camp to camp, meeting new friends around every corner and narrowly escaping the clutches of evil.

– The “romance”. I can never remember how old the two main characters, Jacob and Emma, are, and as a result I didn’t quite know how to feel about their budding romance. It was cute and sweet at times, but also bogged the book down at others. I wanted to learn more about the Peculiar world, about the history of the wights and hollowgasts, about the politics of the Ymbrynes, but there were too many scenes between Jacob and Emma to allow for that. I thought the story could’ve done with tightening up.

What I liked most:

The second half of the book set the stakes much higher than the first half. While the first half felt like a children’s book through-and-through, with the children roaming around making allies, the second half brought back the tension of the first. I won’t go into details, but the ending especially upped the stakes. And, just as the first book, you are left wishing for the next installment.

– Some of the new Peculiar characters. Ransom Riggs once again shows his imagination while introducing us to a host of new Peculiar characters, from a pair of eerie echolocating twins, to a menagerie of unusual animals. Riggs also does a great job of showcasing the unique talents of each of the main children, as in the scene where Hugh finally unleashes his gift.

– “New” and unusual vintage photographs. Part of what I loved so much about the first installment was how Riggs wove together his collection of unusual vintage photos with the narrative. In Hollow City, Riggs continues to successfully intermingle the two, weaving another seamless novel, where the photographs serve to enhance the text, rather than distract from it. The pictures of the Peculiar menagerie creatures are especially cool.

To sum up:

Not as good as the first book (which I highly recommend), but still an amazing and original story. If you’re a fan of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up. Fans will also be kept on the edge of their seats as the story concludes, and will be left wanting more!

Rating: 7/10

 

Before you read Hollow City, check out:

Miss Peregrine cover
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Cover image courtesy of Quirk Books.

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